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Early detection strategies in younger patients with lung cancer are urgently needed

Presented By
Dr Alexandra Potter, Massachusetts General Hospital, MA, USA
WCLC 2022

Younger adults are relatively more frequently diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer than older adults, as was demonstrated by an American cohort study. Therefore, it is necessary to develop strategies that improve the early detection in younger patients who are ineligible for lung cancer screening [1].

Dr Alexandra Potter (Massachusetts General Hospital, MA, USA) and colleagues investigated the differences in lung cancer staging at diagnosis and overall survival (OS) times between younger and older adults since the introduction of lung cancer screening. For this purpose, the investigators used the SEER and US National Cancer Database to analyse all patients from 20 to 79 years old who were diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer between 2010 and 2018. Patients were categorised into 10-year age intervals. In total, 1,328 patients were in the youngest age group (20–29 years) and 447,366 patients were in the oldest age group (70–79 years).

Carcinoid tumours were more frequently observed in younger patients (20–29: 58%; 30–39: 29%) than in older patients (70–79: 4%; P<0.001). Importantly, younger patients were relatively more likely to be diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer (20–29: 76%; 30–39: 70%) than older patients (60-69: 45%; 70-79: 40%). Since 2010, the rate of stage I versus stage IV diagnosing is developing favourably in the older age groups, likely due to lung cancer screening; a status quo is observed in younger patients. Dr Potter thus stated that strategies to increase the early detection of lung cancer in younger patients are urgently needed.

Additional findings included that in the younger age groups, patients were relatively more likely to be Black or Asian than White, compared with the older age groups (P<0.001). The 5-year OS rate was similar at 20% in patients ages 20–29 years, 27–28% in patients aged 30-69 years, and 24% in those aged 70–79 years.

  1. Potter AL, et al. Early diagnosis of lung cancer among younger vs older adults: widening disparities in the era of lung cancer screening. OA05.06, WCLC 2022, Vienna, Austria, 06–09 August.


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